A Triassic Cuddle Set in Stone
In 1975, near the base of South Africa’s Oliviershoek Pass, paleontologist James Kitching discovered the final resting place of a small, shuffling mammal that had perished some 250 million years before. Little more than a piece of skull was poking out of the stone, but the shape and composition of the surrounding rock suggested that the poor creature had died in a burrow – and that there might be more inside. Sure enough, when Kitching cracked open the rock the little lair was pocked by even more bones, so off it went to the collection of Johannesburg’s Evolutionary Studies Institute of the University of Witwatersrand. Kitching had no idea that he had found a pair of unusual Triassic bedfellows.